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The last flight of Stefan Zweig
The romantic evocation of the Brazilian exile of the Zweigs, from September 1941 to February 1942, becomes a graphic novel magnified by intense watercolours.
A ship slices through the waves of the Atlantic ocean. On board is Stefan Zweig, the renowned Austrian writer, and his second wife, Lotte. They have left New York and are bound for Brazil; President Vargas has just announced that he will welcome European Jews who have been forced into exile. Will they find peace there? Lotte wants to believe they can find happiness again, and enthuses about the beauty of Rio, the tranquility and exoticism of Petropolis. Stefan is working on his latest novel, but the painful memory of book burnings and anti-Semitic atrocities in Europe feed his despair. And the news of the war gets worse. How long can he carry on before sinking? On 22 February 1942, Stefan Zweig and Lotte committed suicide in Petropolis, putting an end to their wanderings. Their lives during these last few months in Brazil are the subject of this graphic novel, an adaptation of the eponymous novel by Laurent Seksik.
In short sentences, punchy and incisive, Laurent Seksik conveys Stefan Sweig’s depression, bitterness and sadness, offset against all odds by Lotte’s joie de vivre. The elegant, delicate and moving watercolours by Guillaume Sorel give a special
momentum and a palpable intensity to the words. With a penetrating alchemy, the perfect balance between the watercolours and the text, the reader is struck by this story that skilfully blends romance, biography and testament.
“This is a friendly and easy introduction”
“It zips through the story and the clear, bright drawings are a welcome addition and really bring their time in Brazil to life. The likenesses are excellent – not just of Zweig, but of other figures too, such as Freud and Joseph Roth. Its ambition is admirable. For those who don’t know the story of Zweig’s decline from international celebrity to suicidal refugee this is a friendly and easy introduction.”
David Herman, Jewish Renaissance
“An extraordinary escape and a great work of art.”
“The compositions are full of splendour”
“The compositions are full of splendour, Guillaume Sorel likes to play with space, and the movement between the past and the present is perfectly handled…Sorel creates a climate of uncertainty, with little pleasures here and there. He has staged the last struggle of Stefan Zweig with a remarkable sobriety and empathy.”